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Public Speaking: How to Train Yourself to Stay

Public Speaking: How to Train Yourself to Stay


Staying focused when you are responding to complex questions is difficult for all people. Maybe the question comes in a meeting. Maybe during a presentation. It is even more difficult if you are a non-native born speaker of English or you have English as a native language and speak an accented English (Irish English, India English, Australian English). In you have English as a second language or moderately to highly accented English, you may be working very hard to make your English clear to understand or intelligible to your listeners.

What you need is to be focused. In sports they often call it “the zone.” It involves focusing your energy and thoughts and screening out all distractions. Whether in a group, classroom, or meeting room—the locations are endless – but all are filled with distractions. 

To improve your ability to stay focused, pick a busy place like a shopping mall or the lobby of a busy theater or school. Lock your focus on one thing, such as a picture or plant and see if you can stay totally focused on that object. You need to erase all distractions from your mind. If your mind drifts, keep bringing your focus back to your object. This practice will help you stay focused in situations where you are asked to respond in a group and on a complex topic. Actors and athletes often use this technique backstage or prior to a game to get the focus they need to succeed.

Next time we’ll talk about how to deliberately practice being direct and to the point in your spoken English communication.

 Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

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